You arrive and the plan is to take a taxi to the hotel. So you get in the taxi queue and wait. You hope there's no taxi strike, you hope there aren't 100 weary travelers ahead of you in line and you hope when you get a taxi they take you directly to the hotel and not on the grand tour. I feel your pain, I USED to be one of you.
When I was a flight attendant I was used to a van picking the crew up at the airport and taking us to the hotel. I didn't have to think about it or waste time and I liked it.
Here's a little secret. You don't have to pay more to arrange an airport pickup. You should be prearranging your transportation to your hotel and back to the airport without worrying about lines, availability or being "taken for a ride". You'll know what the cost is before you get in the car and they are waiting for YOU on arrival.
Just recently before heading off for Buenos Aires, I booked a transfer from the airport to the hotel in central Buenos Aires. When I arrived, my driver was waiting for me just outside of customs. The ride took about 45 minutes because, well, if you've never been there it's hard to describe the traffic. I paid the equivalent of $27 USD for a one way transfer. Other people arriving the same day paid $80 for a taxi. That's probably enough reason for most of you to see the value in prebooking transfers.
Another time I was arriving in Nice at 11:55 pm. Taxis can be scarce at odd times of the day and night but there was my driver, waiting for ME. I was out of the airport and to my hotel in about 15 minutes. In that case, the transfer didn't cost any less than a taxi but it didn't cost any more either and I was in my hotel about as fast as you could get there.
The best part is that I didn't have to think about it. It was prearranged and I admit, it always makes me feel like a princess!
A friend of mine just got back from Paris. For a private car pick up from Charles de Gaulle to their hotel in the Opera area the cost was $137 USD round trip. A one way taxi runs about $80 and you have to get in line to get one.
So forget the idea that you have to be Bill Gates to have a private airport pick up. All you have to do is plan ahead.
So how do you arrange these transfers?
1. Work with a travel agent and they'll arrange it for you. They know who to work with and they'll get the best value for you.
2. Contact your hotel and they'll recommend a car service. At the very least they'll tell you what a taxi ride should cost. Sometimes they'll recommend a shuttle that takes you to the city center and then a short taxi ride to your hotel.
If you arrive and you haven't prebooked anything the Information Desk at the airport can always fill you in on your best options. But you won't have anyone waiting for you and that's the part I like.